In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal made by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the disqualification of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the February 25 presidential election. The appeal was based on the alleged double nomination of his Vice-President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima. Here are the key details:
Lack of Legal Authority and Merit
The apex court, represented by Justice Adamu Jauro, delivered a unanimous judgment declaring the PDP’s case as incompetent and lacking in merit. The court emphasized that the PDP did not possess the necessary legal authority to initiate such a suit in the first place. According to Section 285(14)(c) of the Constitution, a political party cannot interfere in the internal affairs of another political party. Thus, the Supreme Court ruled that the PDP, not being a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), could not challenge the APC’s candidate selection process.
Inapplicability of Nwosu’s Case
The apex court also highlighted that the case of Nwosu, relied upon by the appellant, was not relevant to the present appeal. It clarified that Nwosu was nominated by two different political parties, while Senator Shettima was nominated solely by the APC. This distinction rendered Nwosu’s case inapplicable in this context.
Lack of Locus Standi and Statute Barred
The five-member panel, led by Justice John Okoro, upheld the judgments of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court in Abuja, which had dismissed the appellant’s case for lacking locus standi. The Supreme Court further determined that the appellant’s case had become statute barred, exceeding the 180-day limit allowed by law. As a result, the court was unable to delve into the merits of the case.
The Supreme Court’s ruling effectively preserves the candidacy of President-elect Tinubu and Vice-President-elect Senator Shettima, as the PDP’s attempt to disqualify them on the grounds of double nomination has been rejected. The court also affirmed the cost of N2 million awarded against the appellant in favor of the respondents, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Tinubu, and Shettima.
Details of the ruling will be provided in subsequent updates.